Groundbreaking Journalist Simeon Booker Dead At 99


Pioneering journalist Simeon Booker, known widely for his reporting of the civil rights movement, has passed away.

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His death was confirmed by USA Today on Monday (Dec. 11). Booker’s career in journalism took off in 1952, when he became the first African-American on staff of The Washington Post. His reporting of the death of Emmet Till sparked national attention as well as his coverage with the civil rights movement for Jet and Ebony magazine.

He covered the tenures of 10 presidents and traveled to Southeast Asia to report on the Vietnam War. Booker is known for going above and beyond, risking his life to report. Booker has also spoke about his above and beyond approach to reporting, especially when it came to black leaders.

“I had a compelling ambition to fight segregation on the front line,” he said in 1982. “I stayed on the road covering civil rights day and night. We ducked into funeral homes at night to photograph the battered bodies of civil rights victims. The names, the places and the events became history.”

He authored or co-authored four books including his memoir, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter’s Account of the Civil Rights Movement and is a recipient of the George Polk Award for lifetime achievements in journalism along with The National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Award.

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